OZ Minerals has committed $600 million to expand the Prominent Hill copper and gold mine, located 650 km north-north-west of Adelaide, approximately 100 km south-east of Coober Pedy and 150 km north-west of BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam mine.

The South Australian government has welcomed the commitment.

“Our Growth State plan backs copper mining as one of the largest drivers of economic growth and prosperity for South Australians,” said the Minister for Energy and Mining.

“This expansion will extend the mine’s life to 2036 from 2032 and increase copper production by 23% on current levels.

“The expansion will also lower operating costs and reduce carbon emissions generated in copper and gold production by a quarter, with a new shaft reducing the emissions from trucking.

"The expansion provides longevity for the 1,200 strong workforce and will increase royalties, which help fund roads, schools and hospitals. It also provides opportunities for suppliers during construction and ongoing operations to benefit from the expansion.

“During the COVID-19 disruptions, we’ve worked hard to make sure the resources sector can contribute to keeping South Australia safe and strong.

“Copper is critical for the global economy to produce the goods needed to achieve net zero emission globally – such as electric vehicles, batteries, and power lines.”

The South Australian government has set the most ambitious climate change goals of any Australian state, aiming at net-100% renewables by 2030 and a 50% reduction in emissions by 2030.

The Department for Energy and Mining has been working with OZ Minerals on the regulatory requirements to authorise new activities.

OZ Minerals decision to expand Prominent Hill and promising results of investigations of two other copper targets nearby have the potential to open up further expansions over time.

The energy and mining sector employs 14,000 South Australians, generates over $300 million of royalties per annum and had $7 billion in sales in 2020.

South Australia’s copper strategy aims to boost production to 1 million tonnes over the next two decades.

Image from Oz Minerals.

Sourced from the Department for Energy and Mining’s website: $600 million Prominent Hill expansion to drive COVID-recovery